An alarming number of new cases of diabetes are being diagnosed among American kids. A CDC report revealed last month that Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are both on the rise.
The findings have doctors raising concerns and making sure parents know the signs and symptoms of diabetes among their children.
“She just wasn’t acting right but it was nothing I had experienced with the other children,” said Tiffany Barzacchini.
Barzacchini’s 7-year-old daughter was just 1 year old when she was rushed to the ER with the tell-tale symptoms of diabetes.
“She was just lethargic at times, craving water, and by the third day of this, her breathing became real intense,” said Barzacchini.
Isola is the youngest of five. None of her older siblings have ever displayed symptoms of diabetes and genetically, there’s no trace of the disease in either her mom’s or dad’s family history.
The CDC is reporting though that Isola is not alone. In a ten year study of kids from just a few months, to 19-years-old it was discovered each year, there was an increase of 1.8% of new Type 1 diabetes cases and an increase of 4.8% of new Type 2 cases.
“Frankly, we don’t know the cause,” said Dr. Roy Kim, the Section Head of Pediatric Endocrinology at the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital.
Kim finds the surge in new diabetes cases alarming.
“We know that individuals must have a certain genetic predisposition to be at risk for Type 1 Diabetes but there must be other environmental triggers and frankly we just haven’t figured out what those triggers are,” he said.
An increase in Type 2 among kids can be linked to an increase in overall American childhood obesity. Type 2 is directly tied to weight gain, lack of exercise, and unhealthy eating habits. But what’s more confusing is a rise in Type 1, a lifelong condition, with the root cause still unknown.
“What goes underappreciated is how life changing the diagnosis is for those kids and what they have to go through,” said Kim.
“It doesn’t ever go away, you don’t ever get a break from it, it is literally 24/7 that you have to manage it,” said Barzacchini.
For Isola’s family, managing her disease is a full time job. Her blood is checked for insulin first thing in the morning when she wakes up, at every meal and after physical activity which must be limited.
It’s the same story for millions of Americans. According to the American Diabetes Association, every 23 seconds in this country, there’s a new diabetes diagnosis. It’s estimated those patients will pay around $14,000 a year in medical expenses dealing with the disease.
“Ultimately in her lifetime I’m hoping they have a cure,” said Barzacchini.
Symptoms parents should be on the lookout for include increased thirst and urination among their children, a feeling of constant exhaustion or hunger, sometimes weight loss and in its severe form, Type 1 can lead to vomiting, severe dehydration, and a coma-like state.